The 999 Academy is a youth development programme and is open to all young people aged 16 -19 years, regardless of their career ambitions or capabilities. During the course, students develop skills and confidence that will be of benefit to communities and employers and helps them make career choices in the future. This course inspires students to create safer communities by engaging in social action projects, understanding the work of the Emergency Services and learning lifesaving skills.
The 999 Academy is a unique programme of collaboration between the police, fire & rescue and ambulance services, together with an education provider. It is the only youth programme in the UK which has all three blue light services and colleges working together in this way, for this age group.
999 Academy courses are based within or at Colleges of Further Education. That being the case, it is advantageous for each 999 Academy course to adopt all the Safeguarding Policies of the educational establishment its sits within.
The 999 Academy is committed to providing an environment which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from discrimination.
The 999 Academy was established in 2011 in Barnstaple, North Devon, by local staff within Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service (DSFRS), South Western Ambulance NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT), Devon & Cornwall Police (DCP), HM Coastguard and Petroc College of Further & Higher Education.
In response to a desire to set up youth engagement projects in the area, officers recognised the benefits of collaborative working and so drawing on volunteers from their organisations, the 999 Academy was formed.
The first course began in October 2011, which ran for two years, and was followed by a year long course beginning in September 2018. After an evaluation it was found that the first course was too long and the other too short. So two subsequent courses in Barnstaple, have both been 18 months in length and found to give the best opportunity for young people to get the best opportunity to develop through interaction, learning new skills and be leading and delivering in social action locally.
In January 2017, the programme grew with two new partners in Bridgwater, with Bridgwater & Taunton College, and Avon & Somerset Police (ASP) joining SWASFT and DSFRS in beginning a new 18 month course.